Claude King – Wolverton Mountain, is a country music song and 1962 crossover hit that established Claude King’s career as an American country singer-songwriter. The song was a rewrite of the original version by Merle Kilgore, which was based on a real person named Clifton Clowers (Kilgore’s own uncle). Clowers lived on Woolverton Mountain (the spelling was changed for the song) located 4 miles north of Center Ridge, Arkansas, some 50 miles (80 km) north of Little Rock. The song spent nine weeks at the top of the Billboard country chart in the United States in June and July 1962. A giant crossover hit, “Wolverton Mountain” reached number six on the Billboard 100 pop chart and number three on the easy listening chart.
The song’s storyline deals with the narrator’s desire for Clowers’ daughter and his intention to climb the titular mountain and marry her. It opens with the recounting of a legendary warning to the listener not to “go on Wolverton Mountain”, as its inhabitant Clifton Clowers, who is “handy with a gun and a knife”, poses a lethal threat to anyone who tries to approach his beautiful daughter, whose “tender lips are sweeter than honey”. If a stranger attempts to enter, Clowers is alerted by “the bears and the birds”. The narrator has decided to defy Clowers and climb the mountain despite the acknowledged danger. What will eventually happen to him is not revealed in the lyric, but the positive tone suggests optimism.
Claude King – Wolverton Mountain
From the album Meet Claude King
B-side “Little Bitty Heart”
Released March 1962
Songwriter(s) Merle Kilgore Claude King
Producer(s) Don Law Frank Jones